Labour candidates in Barnet are suggesting that if Labour takes control of Barnet on May 3, the Council will become a bastion in the struggle against the antisemitism cultivated by the Labour leadership. You would imagine that would mean they would all accept the IHRA definition of antisemitism, wouldn’t you.
Liberal Rabbi Danny Rich is a Labour candidate in West Finchley Ward. He does not accept the IHRA definition because he does not accept that ‘Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination’ is antisemitic. Those considering voting for him may think this important information.
On March 21 2010 Liberal Rabbi Rich allowed Jeff Halper (then of “Israel Committee Against House Demolitions ”) to have a platform at the Montagu Centre (Liberal Judaism’s main building). The meeting was organised by “Jews for Justice for Palestinians” but Rabbi Rich let the hall to them and was at the meeting.
Jeff Halper openly advocates ‘One State’. Rabbi Rich was widely criticised for giving him a platform. I have copies of emails to him from Senior Communal Leader A (“It is remarkable that you hosted such a person”) and Senior Communal Leader B:
“I just cannot imagine why any Jew, particularly a Zionist Jew, would invite Jeff Halper to speak in public to a predominantly Jewish audience in this country. Halper believes in a one state solution – the end of a Jewish State – and believes Israel to be an apartheid regime. He continually criticises and demonises Israel and is a perfect tool for all those who want to delegitimise and destroy our State of Israel. Whereas I truly believe in freedom of speech and democracy, and Israel also believes the same, I find it incredible that you should give a platform to this man who has sufficient opportunities to speak with our enemies and who supports our enemies.”
Halper has also used Nazi analogies to describe Israeli policy (also antisemitic under the IHRA Definition)
After the meeting Danny Rich wrote the following on my JC blog: (his post was on 22 March, the blog was dated 20 March): “Liberal Judaism rejects the allegation that the advocacy of a one state solution is by definition antisemitic”
In an email to me (17/3/10) Rabbi Rich wrote “advocates of a one state solution are not, in my view, by definition antisemitic”
On 23/7/10 Rabbi Rich wrote in an email to me “I do not accept your [!] definition of antisemitism, and will continue to believe and state that ‘calling for a one state solution is not necessarily antisemitic’.
At a meeting at Kingston Synagogue in October 2010 Rabbi Rich was on the same platform as me. He made a comment – heard by all in the audience – that the Zionist Federation (of which he was a Patron) was allied with the EDL. Such a comment from a ZF Patron at a public meeting is completely unacceptable. A Patron is supposed to help the organisation which appoints him, not defame it! (Attempts to remove him as a Patron were unsuccessful).
In his JC Column on 13 January 2012, Professor Geoffrey Alderman wrote of Rich: “He is, for example, on record as denying that the so-called “one-state” solution is “by definition” antisemitic, whereas I would have thought it obvious that any denial of the right of Jewish self-determination must, by definition, be so.”
More recently Liberal Rabbi Rich spoke alongside Peter Kosminsky, the Director of “The Promise” . (The ZF issued a Press Notice protesting at the lies and distortions in “The Promise”). He also spoke alongside Deborah Fink, a founder of “Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods”. The meeting was organised by the profoundly anti-Israel group “Friends of Sabeel” as well as “Jews for Justice for Palestinians”.